Melbourne’s own roots/rock aficionado Hamish Anderson is gearing up for a massive 2019, with the release of his latest single Breaking Down, a gritty, threatening rock track that must be listened to with the volume knob fully cranked, out now. Breaking Down is an early taste of the upcoming album from Hamish, entitled Out Of My Head; an eclectic and exciting collection of songs from this young artist who has already blown the world away with his talent, out May 2019.

Hamish will play his first Australian shows since 2017 alongside the one and only Gary Clark Jr. as main support, kicking off in Sydney at the Enmore Theatre on April 18, then moving through Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, and wrapping up at the Perth Concert Hall on April 27. Hamish speaks to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles about the tour.

2018 was a big year for you, has 2019 continued on in much the same way?
It definitely has! I’m very excited for 2019 — which will include opening for Gary Clark Jr on his Australia tour and the release of my album Out Of My Head. It’s shaping up to be a great year ahead!

What was your reaction to Total Guitar putting you in their Top 10 Best New Guitarists?
I was really honoured to be included on the list amongst so many other great up and coming guitarists, and it was really special that it was voted by the people. It was nice reminder to keep working away, doing what I’m doing, so that more people find it and connect with it.

Have you found that a few more new doors have started to open?
Yeah it’s been cool to hear from more people online and at shows who have found out about me and my music either through the radio plays my songs have received in the Australia and the US– and of course, mentions like Yahoo Music naming me a Top 10 Best New Artist in 2016 and the Total Guitar Best New Guitarists in 2018 were super helpful, too.

How important was it for you to live in the US to keep forging ahead with your musical career?
It was something that happened very naturally and I’m really thankful it did. I just started to get more and more work in the US and it’s been a great fit for me musically. I’ve always connected very strongly with American music (the blues, rock and roll, Americana/folk etc) so I always dreamed of going there. It really was where all the music I loved came from.

Is there any truth to the saying that you have to get noticed overseas before you get noticed back home?
I think there is truth to that saying. Its funny how sometimes it takes kicking some goals somewhere else to get a little buzz going on where you’re from. I’ll play anywhere people want me!

It must be a huge buzz to return to Australia to support Gary Clark Jr?
It is! I’m really honoured to be opening up for Gary Clark Jr who I’m a huge fan of and very inspired by his career and choices he has made as an artist. And for it to be at home in Australia, after I’ve been over in the states so much over the past couple of years, is really the icing on the cake. I’m very excited for this tour!

How did this tour come about?
I met Gary a couple of years ago over in the states when my (now) manager asked him to come to a show I was doing very early on. After the gig, he was complimentary about my music and we hung a bit that night and have kept in contact – as well as crossed paths at festivals and shows – ever since then. This tour came about earlier this year, when my team spoke with Gary’s — it came about very organically. We all know each other now – Gary’s drummer plays on both my albums and sometimes even live – when he’s not doing tours with Gary of course. It has been great getting to know him over the years. I’m always excited to see him play live – he’s a modern legend.

How would you describe Breaking Down?
I’d describe it as high energy, straight up rock and roll. I was definitely exploring the rock and roll side of my music for Breaking Down and was influenced by a lot of early 60’s bands like The Kinks, The Who — and even some early Kings Of Leon.

Is there pressure for a quicker follow up given how well Breaking Down has gone?
I’m releasing several tracks from Out Of My Head – which will be the second album I’ve made. I really took my time with the writing of this new album and didn’t want to rush into just recording anything. I wanted to push myself further with my songwriting and have a collection of eleven songs that I felt represented where I’m at artistically. We finished recording for the album last February so I’m excited to finally get these songs out!

Do you revisit the left over songs or does the creative process keep going?
I watched an interview with Bruce Springsteen where he spoke about revisiting old songs and sometimes they can be like cars – you just take certain good parts from older songs and put them in new songs and never waste a good line. That definitely got me thinking about doing that with my own writing which I have been doing. The final song on the album Dark Eyes I had started writing all the way back in 2014, but could never finish it. I always loved the song and listened to the demo fairly frequently, but I didn’t finish it until I was writing the majority of this album in 2017. I’m really glad I did because I’m particularly proud of that song.

What’s next for Hamish Anderson beyond the Australian tour?
The album Out Of My Head full length album will be released on May 3, I’ll then be heading back to the States to play at the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis as well as other festivals and shows throughout the year — and another tour of Europe too. It’s all systems “go” time once the album comes out!

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Hamish Anderson supporting Gary Clark Jr. on the following dates…